I am officially listing this past weekend on my 2016 highlight reel. I was invited, along with a select group of influencers to head out to Connecticut and take part in the taping of Talking Cars’ 100th Podcast episode. Talking Cars is an extremely popular podcast created by the Consumer Reports team and last Saturday enthusiasts and podcast fans flew in from all over the country for a chance to talk to the podcasts stars! How awesome is that?!
Thanks to my mom, I’ve known about Consumer Reports for a while. But I didn’t know that they are a actually a nonprofit, and I also didn’t know that they buy all of the cars they test. All of them. To remove bias that might stem from media review vehicles, they purchase all of the cars that they review themselves. Because they can’t have manufacturers catch on, they’ve developed an intriguing system of purchasing cars, I can’t say much but it involves long distances and some significant dedication.
The Talking Cars Podcast was taped in the Consumer Reports garage, which for the day was emptied of the latest cars, and filled with fans, enthusiasts, and media. The panelists were car experts Jennifer Stockburger, Jake Fisher, Tom Mutchler, and Jon Linkov. They discussed the latest trends in cars, which cars they liked the most/least, and the future of manufacturing. Honestly, it was ridiculously interesting. I’m definitely thinking about my first car purchase, and the options and experience of these folks was really invaluable – whether you’re looking for a new car, your first car, or like the 13-year-old fan who had an extensive knowledge about fuel efficient vehicles – you’re a real fan of the industry.
Afterwards they fielded questions from the audience, which was amazing to be a part of. Talking Cars has generated a genuine following and you could really tell that the fans and the experts were so excited to talk cars in real time and in person. Consumer Reports provides in-depth, independent reviews – you can count on them for thorough testing and honest opinions. They definitely have the consumer in mind, as Jennifer Stockburger said when discussing car seat options “You don’t need a $500 model, our best option so far is a $40 model.” They’re clearly not about the fanciest option – they’re about what works best for you as a consumer.
After taping wrapped Jennifer took us out on the track to test drive the Tesla Model S. Now, I’m something of an Elon Musk fan. I find his work intriguing and I’ve long wanted to find out what a Tesla drives like. Suffice it to say, it was amazing. Ah-maze-ing. Like if I could only own one car ever, I would choose the Tesla S hands-down.
Jennifer explained the various features of the electric car, including its touch screen panel which you use to control the car. You can also quickly get a google map view of your location – which means no more getting lost. The touch screen panel can also be used to surf the web, and check your email – which you should never do while driving (in case you were wondering). Setting the car to “Insane”, we almost instantly went from 0 to 100 mph. I don’t know if ‘car euphoria’ is a real term, but I experienced it then. For me it was like those exciting moments of lift-off on an airplane, or that feeling you get when you’re on a roller coaster or a great theme park ride.
Jennifer (who is a 16 year Consumer Report veteran herself) also showed us how well the car swerved to avoid hitting objects. She told us about their testing standards, how they don’t test in extreme temperatures because it affects how the car drives, how they even test how every vehicle hydroplanes, as well as how everyone at the CR Connecticut office tries each car out – which takes into account the varied consumer. Driving around in the Tesla, I wouldn’t have minded staying out on the track for hours. Even though we weren’t out there a long time, by the time we headed off the track I was in love. Honestly I don’t typically speak car, but I couldn’t stop talking about this car for days. And I might just be 1001% jealous of Jennifer and the rest of the Consumer Reports team, I envy them their jobs – minus the YouTube comment moderating they mentioned.
Thanks so much for having me out Consumer Reports!
Are you a Consumer Reports fan? How about Talking Cars? Catch their latest podcast here! Do you have a favorite or a dream car? I’d love to know, tell me about it in the comments or send me a tweet!